Tags: leaving Big Law
Tomorrow is my last day at the firm. Yes, it has been a few weeks since I posted — and, obviously, I’ve been busy. I decided to pursue what I hope will be a truly life-fulfilling path — the one I almost decided to follow after my maternity leave. I do not regret returning to my firm, though. Not one bit. I leave knowing I have left nothing on the table. I leave having been re-immersed in tax law and hard work. I leave having reestablished my professional and personal connections here.
I’ll write more about my new opportunity soon — next week, in my week off between jobs. Right now, however, I’m sending almost three years of files to records, having good-bye coffees and lunches with the colleagues who have become my friends. And I’m surprisingly emotional. Change makes me anxious, even good change. I am not sorry I’m leaving all this behind. But what is “all this”?: A huge, multinational law firm in a gleaming high rise. A nod of recognition when I tell people where I work. The confidence that came with knowing that, after years of professional hopscotch, I actually was capable of landing a prestigious job. (“Prestigious” — I feel the need to surround that in quotes, recognizing all of the external validation implied by my last few sentences. But it’s true! I’ll admit it! I’m proud that I work(ed) here.)
No, I’m not sorry to be leaving on my own terms in an anxiety-producing economy. But I’m still nostalgic about the milestones. I came here with one baby, I leave with two. At times I felt like I did a good job. Mostly, I felt rather stressed, but that, too, is part of the fun of being a BigLaw attorney — you can sit around and kvetch with your other lawyer friends about how stressed you are. Highlighters and sticky tabs and blackberrys and binder clips; empty Starbucks cups, free dinners after 7, free cab rides after 8; the same turkey wraps at every department lunch. Getting into my car with NPR and a mug of coffee and seeing my skyscraper in the distance as I headed for the highway, wondering what would happen today. Seeing the clock tick towards 5 and wondering if I’d be able to leave in time for bathtime.
Oh, I have so much more to write about this experience and the one that lies ahead. But right now I’m strangely overwhelmed. I ache to talk to my father, to compare my corporate law experience to his, to dissect it in a detail that only another corporate lawyer would want to listen to.
Tonight, some law school classmates who work here are buying me a glass of wine; tomorrow I’ll have a farewell lunch with some friends in my department. Saying goodbye can be strange and awkward, but I hope and trust that my new job will be a bridge to maintaining these connections. It still doesn’t feel real — seven years ago, almost on a whim, I decided to take the LSAT and take control of my life. Without this experience I don’t know that I’d have the confidence to maintain that control and take the leap I’m taking now — out of BigLaw towards a big unknown. I’m nervous and nostalgic, but also grateful and proud.
Tim and I escaped to Woodstock, Vermont this past weekend. We stayed at the Blue Horse Inn, which is right in town. It is a lovely bed and breakfast, very tastefully decorated, with comfortable beds and truly the best B&B breakfast I have ever had (cream scones, french toast with maple whipped cream, shired eggs, french press coffee…). The weather was rainy and not really suited for outdoor activities (well, not to city-slickers like us who were loathe to ski or snowshoe in the rain), so there was a lot of eating, wine, dozing, and reading. On Friday night I went to bed at 9 p.m. and woke up at 8:30 a.m. the next morning. On Saturday, after a huge breakfast and an easy run through the hilly, picturesque town (over a few covered bridges, even!), we drove about 20 minutes to Hanover, N.H. and wandered around. On Sunday, like the good yuppies we are, we stopped at Simon Pearce on our way home. That’s really all we did.
Little Bug was apparently mad at us for going away with out her, so refused to speak to us on the phone all weekend. My mother let her do things like put on her bathing suit and swim in the bathtub (pretending that she was on vacation), so I think she had fun nonetheless. Little O loved spending time with his grandparents, but when we walked in the door started to babble and “talk” excitedly — I think he was very happy to see us return.